Tag Archives: Health

I know! I hate me a little bit too..

My name is Kari, and I hate when people are picky eaters.
Okay. Now that that’s out on the table.
I don’t hate that you want to eat healthy, or not.
I hate when you order something with 5 different accommodations.

And for the last 5 months, I have been the pot calling the kettle black.
Rewind to about 7 months ago.
I follow a MS group on Facebook, and once a week they post these random questions. It asked, “New to MS? What questions do you have? Long time diagnosed? What advice could you give?”
For some reason, I was a little intrigued. So, I start trolling the advice..
(Now I should preface this article with the fact that many people had suggested this before. I’ve been sent the link to Dr. Wahls many times. I talked it through a few times with my PT, and we both decided that I just wasn’t ready to add in one more change at the time. There was so much going on, newly diagnosed, learning to walk again, getting my left side fine motors back, getting back to work, etc. a diet change would have been too much then. I still stand by that idea.)
So the advice…
Do yoga! Your body can’t thank you enough! .. Check! Yoga every morning!
Work out on the regular! Keep those muscles active! .. Check! Possibly a little obsessive about a gym routine.
Watch your sugar intake! Bad food can make symptoms flare! .. Umm, mostly check. I think I eat pretty decent.
Eat paleo! No processed foods! .. Kind of check? I try to not eat processed foods, but paleo? That shit’s a little intense, right?
Gluten free is the way to go! .. Now I’m just getting pissed!!

So pissed in fact, I start doing a little research.

And I’ll spare you all the information that I found during this research process (but really if you, or someone you know has MS or another autoimmune disorder, do the research!), but whoa!
Now all that research suggested some really wacky things! The wackiest being:
No cheese! (Ahh!)
No beans! (What about my daily canned green beans snack?!)
No sugar! (Dessert?! I love dessert!)
So I thought about it for a bit. And with the suggestion from Derek, I decided to give it a go. His advice made tons of sense, “obviously you feel better when you eat better, right? So what’s to hurt just trying it? Worst case, there is no difference.”
That made sense to me.

Even though I was still real pissed at myself for becoming one of those eaters.
Humbled and pride dented (story of my life for the last 12 months! But that’s a whole nother blog post!) I decided to give myself two months of paleo eating, and see how things went.

Long story short, I wouldn’t be lying if I said that I hated everything for the first three weeks.
But I also wouldn’t be lying if I said that my body felt the best it had since September 30, 2013.

So, here I am a few more months along. I have quite a few new cookbooks, some good recipe ideas from family and friends and am feeling really good.
So. There it is. A big secret I’ve been keeping, because “judgey wudgey was a bear.” Right, Stanford? I want to scrutinize my decisions sometimes too. I know what you are thinking, and remember, I think about what other people think. I get it.
Here’s what I get the most:
Did it cure everything? Absolutely not. But I have noticed a considerable decrease in my MS fatigue. Decrease meaning it’s non existent. And the restless pain in my legs is practically gone as well.
Do I follow paleo strictly, 100% of the time? No. That would be too hard for me. I would say I follow the idea of paleo about 90% of the time. My most consistent non paleo foods are sushi when we are out, natural popcorn every now and then, a beer, or two, on the weekend and some pizza every once in awhile.
What have I noticed making the most impact? Without a doubt, processed sugar. It kills me. Which is sad, y’all. Cause sugar is in everything! I thought I would be giving up just desserts. But it’s in everything! And I notice right when it sneaks its way in somewhere. (And by sneaks, I mean when you are whining to your husband about your day, and in your moment of weakness you decide a Thelma’s ice cream sandwich will rid the day of shittiness. It won’t, by the way. It only makes things worse when you can’t get your body stretched out or comfortable that nite.)
Ahem..
Isn’t paleo a ton of meat? Don’t you hate meat? Yes and no. Yes, a lot of the recipes are meat dishes. But you know I love any kind of fish. And fortunately there are some great paleo fish recipes. And no, I’m trying not to hate meat anymore. (I’ll let that sink in for a minute.) Weird, I know. It is for me too. I’ve tried a few meat things recently (mostly just a few bites of Derek’s meat entrees). I certainly don’t love any of it. But I’m trying to be a little more open minded about it.
What about drinking? You love beer and vodka! Now you know I love me some adult beverages. And I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why I felt so insanely terrible after drinking for the last year. Turns out, alcohol (and adult drinks in general) involve quite a bit of sugar. Sad news. Even sadder than trying meat. The truth is, it really isn’t worth feeling like you want to crawl out of your skin. Don’t you worry though, one Bloody Mary is still alright with me!
What do you eat? Really, I eat tons of things! Tons of veggies, fish, fruit (I didn’t cut natural sugar like fruit) or things made with those products. And let me tell you, people are real creative with natural ingredients! I made paleo pumpkin pancakes the other nite, and they were awesome!
And the million dollar question:
Do you really know why you are doing this? Mostly a question I have asked myself. So yeah, I’m a psychology major. The real reason is obviously control. Deep in my gut I know that having MS creates the potential for lots of situations involving my body and brain that I can’t control. And that’s hard for me. But knowing what makes me feel better, and being able to manage that in my own way (through my diet) offers me a little control over the disease, and right now I can’t pass that up.

That’s the honest, unprocessed, non sugar coated truth.

Moving On.

I was explaining to my massage therapist the other day, “No just a 30 minute massage on my legs.”
She asks, “Have you started a new workout routine? Running?”
“No, I have MS, and my symptoms show mostly in my legs. So it feels real nice to have them rubbed every couple of weeks.”

And that was that.
I didn’t make any snotty comments.
I didn’t make any uncomfortable jokes.
I didn’t make any politically incorrect statements.

Because snotty comments, uncomfortable jokes and politically incorrect statements are sometimes bitter.
….

The doctors told me that six months after my initial exacerbation would be the date I would know which symptoms had left permanent damage. Basically, six months from September 30th would tell me what my real (new) normal is.
So March 30th finally came… with a lot of anxiety.
And (admittedly) a lot of rage.

After a minor (let’s be real.. I don’t do much “minor.”) melt down to my unbelievably supportive husband, I finally let go of six months worth of distress and anger.

Both feelings are justified. A shit ton of shit fell into my world all at once. And obviously mostly not for the better. But the truth of that justification is that life is just too short to be bitter. Shit tons of shit fall all over everyday. The only difference is how we all want to deal with it.

And I’ve decided It’s so much energy to be angry all the time. (And let’s be real, I gotta bank that energy for weekends out with my friends. I’d much rather use that energy for Bloody Mary day drinking!)
It’s okay to have felt the disappointment from the last six months. But, there’s no time to hang on to anger, it’s not changing anything. And in the meantime I can’t stand to even miss out on all the good things going on:

I have the best partner in life anyone could ask for. No questions asked, the past few months have shown me how patient, involved and accommodating my husband is. He’s beyond what I ever imagined.
I have incredible friends that don’t miss a beat. There’s always just the right amount of expectation and understanding to keep life moving right along.
I have a family that supports my choices through this new adventure especially in healthcare and personal care. They are the real example of providing roots and wings.
I have a job like no other (in many, many ways!) that challenges me mentally and physically everyday. I am so fortunate to work with people who love and care about me like family.
I have a body that might have some aches and clumsiness along the way, but still has strength and determination. With the right amount of routine, I’ve overcome a bit and feel really good about it.

That’s not to say there aren’t moments where frustration comes in. There are for sure times where things just aren’t like they used to be, and it’s a little irritating. Still somethings that I might not be able to do again (ahem, glitter heels), or at least do like I used to.
But that’s life, right?
Life happens and we continue moving forward.
We have to.
I have to.

I mean there are still some things that deserve some uncomfortable jokes, right? Like falling off the bed while sitting down in only your underwear. Gah! It’s so awkward, it is funny.
And really, in times like that what’s a girl going to do? She’s going to confront the elephant in the room and make a joke about it.
Obviously.
Besides, that’s a great story to tell over bloody Marys, am I right?!

Celebration!

In the short 6 months that I’ve had MS, a few things have been very apparent:
I have the most incredible support team.
Des Moines is lacking in the awareness of Multiple Sclerosis.

So, to show my (our) appreciation to you… And all your kind words, thoughts, prayers, laughs and love, my irreplaceable husband has set up this team.
Please if you can, join our team, walk with us, grill with us, (let’s be real.. Have a drink with us!) and laugh with us.
And if you can’t, donate to our team, enjoy our photos afterward or cheers a Bloody Mary that morning from your neck of the world! Think of us on May 17th as we often think of you.. With gratitude and love.

I am fortunate enough to have an amazing support system. Help me raise awareness for those in the Des Moines area who aren’t as lucky.

http://main.nationalmssociety.org/goto/team-kbroox

Heads or Tails?

Good news or bad news?

I usually pick bad news first. Get it over with. Get it all out in the open. And really, then everything just goes up from there! And besides, bad news, like really bad news, is intense. Like a tornado, or cancer.. Or Lincoln Cafe closing, and usually those terrible options aren’t part of heads or tails games.

So let’s play good news or not great news? And let’s start with not great news. Because that’s what I do, and this girl is nothing if not routine.

So. Not great news. I’m in the middle of another exacerbation (flare up).. Or maybe just still the same one (that’s for a whole post about the competency of the health care world, whoa!) But, regardless if it’s new or old, it’s here and slowing me down just a bit. And even more annoying than that? I knew it was happening starting about 4 weeks ago, but the earliest my super compassionate neurologist team (they like to be called a team so that no one is soley responsible for being a dick) could get me in for an MRI to confirm the lesion was Tuesday nite. So, it’s back on steroids I go! (Don’t say I didn’t warn you!)

So there it is. The not great news. Totally annoying. But totally not “bad news.”

And even better, is the actual good news. And there’s tons of it! Literally 30 minutes before I got the phone call confirming the new flare up, I was running on a treadmill! This time sans safety harness! And after the treadmill I was fast-footing it through a rope ladder in just 7 seconds! In fact, my physical therapist ended the session by telling me that starting in January I will only need to come once a week.

Other good news? I mean, I hate to brag.. But here goes: I passed all my short term strength goals for my OT work. So I only have to meet with my occupational therapist one time a week to continue fine motor perfection! Great news!

I am back to work! Full time! And I’m pretty sure it’s the best thing that’s happened to me. Whoa. Sometimes I just realize that I love my job so much and being away from it was hard. Those hooligans (and the 5 subs that cycled through) are so happy to have me back, and the feeling is beyond mutual.

I am cleared to go back to the gym! Super great news! The gym is a little like church for me. I’m obviously not super into body building (or strict dieting, clearly!) but, working out is one of my best stress relievers and I am ecstatic to get that back into my routine. Slowly, of course! Don’t be worried! (Although, this will be my first steroid gym experience! Look out for the Hulk!)

And lastly, even though it’s super hard for me to say, or more so actually believe, the exacerbation was not caused by anything in my control. You see, this is super huge good news for me. I am a complete control freak (like I need to mention that AGAIN!) and have tried to determine every possible thing that I might have done to cause this.. But the truth of the matter is, I didn’t do anything to cause it! I know you all have been worried about the shrimp, the gluten, the diet soda, working full time, working out, the bloody Marys.. All of it. But those things didn’t cause it either. (Thank you for your concern though, I am by no means trying to seem ungrateful for your thoughts!) But, really this is some of the best news for me! It sucks that the realization comes with some not great news, it is for sure something I needed to come to terms with on my own.

I have a disease in my brain that is out of my control. Granted, there are things I can do to make my disease more manageable, which I am doing at full recommendation of all my doctors. (Have I also mentioned how much of a damn rule follower I am? It’s slightly embarrassing!)

And beyond that, I just get to keep living without restrictions. Keep working, keep going out, keep traveling, keep spending time with my favorite people. Just keep going on, stopping for a steroid dose or two along the way, but still going. And it feels really good right now.

So heads or tails??

Winner buys the next round of bloody Marys.

Disclaimer*

*My husband pre-read this blog and informed me that it “might not seem as positive as the past few.” To that I replied, “I can’t always be hilarious, Derek! A girl can only tell the story of falling off her bed while sitting with no pants on one time without people getting bored.”
With that, be forewarned.. I can’t always promise intense positivity or side splitting humor.. but I can promise sincere honesty. So that’s what lies ahead today. (But, I’m fine with Chelsea Handler moving over anyway..)

I’ve never minded being the center of attention. In fact, some people might say I love it. And for the most part I think I would agree.
The only time I can really think that I didn’t like having all eyes on me was while I was walking down the aisle at my wedding. I was still trying to process how I was feeling about joining my life (forever!!) with someone else, and the 500 eyeballs glued to my awkward facial expressions were far more than my fetus 24 year old self could handle. That’s when I realized that I only enjoyed being the center of attention on my terms. (Ahem, obviously, control freak…)

I mean, I think I’m funny. I love having attention when my wit is at its peak.

I think I’m a good story teller. Having an audience makes the embellishing come easy.

And I love people and conversation. Surrounding myself in that is almost soothing at times.

Being the center of attention is not on my terms right now, and I mostly hate that.
Don’t get me wrong. Hands down I have had the most amazingly supportive network of people in my life. My gratitude is beyond measurable. And I am without doubt that without that I would not have nearly as positive an outlook as I do right now.

That being said, it’s a big job convincing people that you are okay. (I mean, in terms if having MS, I’m okay. I’m obviously not running any marathons or being drug off any dance floors.) Mostly because people have to see you to believe that you are alright. And along with that comes some interesting internalizations. I mean, outside first look? Same Kari. Take two steps forward to hug it out. It gets a little noticeable.
And that’s okay!!!
Really, it’s okay!!
See!! This is me, convincing you, it’s weird and okay!! All at the same time!

It takes a lot of energy reminding everyone that life moves forward and with that ticking time, you keep enjoying the little things. I’ve got to keep meeting you for dinner, going out for drinks, making completely inappropriate jokes. And you’ve got to keep doing the same. You’ve got to go on with your life just like before, be a little more aware of others and not be afraid to laugh with me about a flopping left foot. It’s a weird junction I’m at right now, but without honesty and humor I’ll never make it to the next stop.

And it especially takes more than a lot of energy (cause this MS sucks the damn energy right outta ya!!) keeping it all together all of the time.
There’s a weird thing that happens in your brain with MS… I mean beside the flared up lesions. Cause really? That’s some weird shit! I’ve got photos! Look here! Weird, right?!

So even beside that, this weird thing happens that feels like fatigue, but probably just comes out as complete bitchiness
(Which you know I really don’t give a shit about. But I feel like I should acknowledge for at least conversation sake.)
It’s like you are surrounded with everyone you know and love. You are having great conversation. But then you realize that you can’t really focus on what is being said. All of a sudden you realize you know the next word in the song playing over the loud speaker, but you just aren’t sure what your response to the question just asked should be.
And really, it’s not for lack of trying! I’m really concentrating as hard as I can, but somewhere along the way my brain transformed into the 14 year old ADHD brain, constantly distracted by hot girls and shiny buttons.
(Not in the sense that MS made me a lesbian, I just appreciate hot girls and understand how they can totally fuck your train of thought.)

*So yeah, combine that distraction with unwillingly being the center of attention and I’m generally just seeming like a real big dick lately. And mostly it’s really just a lot to explain during normal conversation (and let’s be real, I’d probably lose my train of thought half way through..) I’m not trying to be ungrateful or a terrible listener.. I’ve just got the MS for the time being.

Or maybe I’ll just blame it on too many Bloody Marys..

2nd Place Valedictorian

It’s no secret, I like to be the best at things. The valedictorian, if you will. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like competing with people. In fact, competition makes me feel all nervous and awkward, not awkward funny, awkward like a bad joke or public displays of affection. I only like competition when it’s against myself.

Let’s say my fitbit says I got 11,000 steps today.
(Which we know is not true of today, because I’ve still got this damn gimpy left leg, not so much dragging anymore as, flopping around beside me with a mind of its own!)
(Also, the fitbit is the worst gift for a valedictorian like me. And by worst, I mean best, of course! I am obsessed with it.)
Okay, so yeah, say (on like September 28th) my fitbit said I had 11,000 steps. Well, you better believe that on September 29th, I am for sure going to have at least 11,001 steps. Just to be better.

Or I have 13 things on my Tuesday to do list (That’s another post.. The to do lists! Gah! Killer!) and I got them all checked off. Welp. You bet your hot little ass, 14 things will get done on Wednesday.

It’s a sickness. I’m sure of it. And actually I don’t really care. I love being the valedictorian of crossing things off a to do list. What?!

I’m sure it’s obvious, but the past few weeks have put a little damper on my valedictorian status.

It all started at my first appointment with my neurologist. After a billion questions and tests, my neurologist asked me to walk for him. To which I confidently responded, “Oh yeah! I am getting really good at walking! Watch!” I proudly strutted through that office like a supermodel on a runway. After a few hair flipping turns, I turned back, beaming with pride, anxiously awaiting my overdue praise. To which my doctor sucks in a giant breath (impressed, right?! I know!!) and says, “Okay so there’s still a significant need for physical therapy. On second thought, don’t stop taking the steroids early. Be sure to finish them. All of them.”
Dammit! Really?! Okay.. I guess I can be 2nd place valedictorian walker today. Fine.

A few days after my 2nd place valedictorian walker award was received, I was most definitely awarded 2nd place valedictorian MS yoga participant.
Derek got me all set up with these great MS yoga videos, all my yoga equipment and some privacy (mostly for his benefit!) in the basement and wished me luck.
Remember that aforementioned left leg with a mind of its own? Yeah. That limb was All. Over. The. Place. I mean, here’s this well behaved right leg, properly extended, flexing and hovering a nice six inches off the floor. And the left? Oh, that naughty, independent appendage is just waving in the wind, flopping around like a dead fish. What are you doing?! Get it together! 2nd place is the first loser, lefty!!

And now for the most accomplished of the 2nd place valedictorian awards.
My doctors and therapists have all recommended that while putting on pants, underwear, socks, etc. I should be sitting down. (As if the option of skipping into them was available. Have they seen this dumb left leg?!) So, per recommendation, because I am still the valedictorian of following the rules, duh! I was sitting on my bed, getting ready with my pants around my ankles. I would like to say that I was reaching for something, but really there was nothing. I just lost my balance and fell off the bed.
While sitting.
With my pants around my ankles.
In front of Derek.
In. Slow. Motion. (Because I have MS, nothing is fast.)
Yep. One minute talking about what I am going to order for dinner. The next minute, mooning my husband while face planting into the carpet.
Nothing says graceful like your blinding blueish white butt cheeks face up mid conversation.
2nd place valedictorian of gracefully sitting on a bed. Right here.

I’m sorry you even have to think about that!

… Actually, I’m not really, because it is really funny. And you know how I love when anything can be turned into a funny story!

So yeah, 2nd place valedictorian isn’t all that bad for the time being. I mean, it’s actually pretty awkwardly funny. And everyone knows I love to hate awkward funny.
Now, if we could just work on getting a Bloody Mary served with all these awards…

New Reality.

So, I’m about 15 days into this MS journey, navigating through new realities.. A little slower than my normal fast paced, ADHD life, but still navigating.
As if I could ever give up that control..
A few things I have realized along the way so far:

Pee is urgent! I mean, really urgent! Like all of a sudden, you are afraid you are peeing your pants. Well, not really afraid, because you know it doesn’t scare me to pee my pants. I think that’s just a funny story. Now it’s just an urgent, funny story.

It is really difficult learning to ask for help. It’s a good thing I have such an amazing husband, such understanding family members and such trusting friends.. Because they have given my independent self just the right amount of freedom and boundaries to not bruise my ego when it comes to saying what I need.

A bed alarm is the absolute worst! Being labeled a “fall risk” (complete with florescent bracelets to warn those I might have come in contact with) meant that I was not allowed to get out of my hospital bed without a nurse coming to shut off the alarm. That’s right! A loud blinking, beeping alarm would go off anytime I swung a limb off my bedside!
(Never mind if I wasn’t even trying to go anywhere! Never mind if I was just trying to recline that damn hospital bed back far enough to stretch a good right arm to an outlet to plug my hair straightener in!)
Busted every time. Well, until I learned to disarm the bedside alarms. And then all bets were off. Because, let’s be real, sometimes there’s no stopping a vain girl from doing her hair, even in a hospital gown.

Telling your finger to touch your nose is way taken for granted! I’m serious! You do that right now! Touch your nose! Ten times even! When your brain can’t get your finger to do that, well, that’s when shit gets real weird. And consequently that’s also when you should probably just go to the ER. But, it probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a slice of cold pizza first. You know those ER doctors won’t let you eat for awhile!

One huge change for me, that’s really taken some time coming to terms with, is I do have a heart. I mean, I knew there was something in there holding things together, but I liked to think of it a little chiseled, maybe a little rough.. Picture a diamond. Ha! Not complete stone, but some potential to shine.
Okay, truth of the matter, I have never been a sappy person.
Sentimental, yes.
Romantic, no.
Concerned, empathetic and caring, I like to think yes.
Weepy, touched, poetic, nope.
So I’m not sure if it’s the combination of my birthday and the amount of outreach I have received regarding this diagnosis, or what. But all of a sudden I’m the Grinch on Christmas morning, listening to those little woovilles sing about no food, with a heart that has grown three times the size.
At the risk of sounding ridiculous, I have found a new sense of calm that I am sure can only be attributed to the amount of support, love, encouragement and generosity that so many people have shown me and my family. I am beyond words when it comes to being grateful.. For things I had never expected to be grateful about.
Example? My friends in vegetable costumes! Vegetable costumes that raised over $2000 in less than two weeks for MS research. There’s a whole new level of humbling peace (although I didn’t seem like that when I was screaming in delight on FaceTime!) I never thought I would know.
It really is incredible what a little life changing mishap can do to teach a girl about humility and gratitude. Don’t worry though. I’m not letting MS take my signature cynical, old crabby lady sense of humor. Oh, hell no. But I suppose I little bit of sensitivity never hurt no one!

I got started with my new neurology team here in Des Moines and have some exciting things working for my future. … Until then just waiting for all these steroids to pass through, and keeping my fingers crossed for no chest hair or a growing penis!

Maybe part of this new reality is blogging a little more as well (Karma! You bitch!!) I know there are many updates, and I, very fortunately, have many people to keep updated. So this might just as well just be the new place for all if that.
Well, unless you ever want to meet up somewhere and be updated over bloody Marys. Because you know that’s always my favorite option!

Life These Days..

It’s been a rough couple of days with a rough diagnosis. Yesterday, after waking up with no feeling on my left side, and no use of my left limbs, I spent the day at the Illinois Masonic care clinic ER room, and was (after many, many tests!) diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I have 3-4 more days to spend at this hospital, getting pumped full of steroids, talking with tons of doctors and neurologists and, hopefully, getting my feelings and movements back. And a week of inpatient rehab, that I am begging to be able to do in Des Moines! Whoa, right?! Jumping right into some heavy news! Apologies, that’s how it happened here too.

Social media isn’t maybe the most appropriate way to make such a daunting announcement, but it seemed the easiest way to reach so many (already concerned! Thank you for thinking of me!) friends. I don’t know a lot right now, and probably won’t ever know all the answers to the billion questions I have. But a few things I do know:

I have some of the best family and friends a girl could ask for. Your messages, your thoughts, your prayers.. All of it have been incredibly appreciated and not gone without immense gratitude.

And without a doubt, I have a husband who is far better than I ever imagined. I am not sure how I got so lucky to share my life with someone so courageous and encouraging.

So thank you to all of you. Really, thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you for not being weepy, or having any pity. Thank you for being encouraging and laughing at my off the wall jokes. Thank you.

Life is this crazy journey and sometimes we wind up in places that aren’t always that awesome. But the good thing is, we get to just keep moving (dragging our limp left leg behind us, but moving none the less!!) and hopefully the next stop is even just a bit better. But we will never know unless we just keep taking this journey one day at a time, with a full heart and a (often wildly inappropriate) sense of humor.. So that’s my plan! .. And you know how I love plans! .. And bloody Mary’s. Could a girl get a Bloody Mary up in this piece?!

blockage

I’ve had a little bit of “writer’s block”-
… it started out as a heart block (broken heart),
leading to a mind block (brain clusterfuck),
and has resulted in writer’s block (depression).

It’s hard for me to to ever admit feeling down, blue, upset –
but as it turns out, feeling sad isn’t just for the Betty Fords.
(Or maybe it is and I am now one of them… and by “them” I mean my mother.)

My dog died… and even though it happened 2 months ago, I am still sad.

Just like a parent thinks their kids is the smartest, cutest or brightest –
Ninja, my dog, was obviously the best.
He was my dog and had the loyalty to me that a son has to his mother. A fierce protector with the gentlest of hearts; Ninja was a lover and a watch dog all in one. He was a 90 pound lap dog that never left my side.
Having Ninja made me a little less afraid of the dark. He made me not want to be gone from home for too long. Ninja made me love snow days with him curled on my feet while reading a book. He made the alarm clock seem not so bad. He gave me companionship on sunny days outside (especially while mowing the lawn). Ninja made coming home from vacation something to look forward to. He made my bed a little more cozy. He made my house a little less quiet and my life a little more routine. Ninja made stories (and photos) for naughty kids to love. He made watering the lawn seem like less of a chore, and taking a car ride more like finding gold. He made old dogs find their youth, and young dogs find their obedience. Ninja made my husband a bit jealous at times, but never held a grudge for the accusations. He made my heart melt with his wildly beating tail. Ninja made my life a lot more comfortable and a little less sad.

I miss my dog terribly. He made getting through life’s blocks a little easier.

“it’s okay…”

sometimes when i am leaving drake after class, i start to get really scared about walking to my car in the dark.
okay… not sometimes. all of the time. i am so scared of the dark, and i hate to even think about what might be hiding under (or inside!!!) of my car.
to control my fear during that walk i often find myself talking out loud in reassurance mode. i tell myself that it is okay if someone is under the car waiting to cut my achille’s tendon. it is okay if someone wants to then drag my limp body to a big white van (with no windows) and kidnap/kill me.
does this really happen? no. would i really be okay with someone cutting my ankles and kidnapping me? absolutely not. should i stop watching scary movies? yes.
its just that telling myself that bad things might happen just helps me realize that if something is going to happen, it is out of my control anyway, and most likely (since i am such a strong, brave woman) i will end up being fine.

a couple of weeks ago i noticed that my boobs were really hurting me. (i promise this story will come back around…) now, i have a pretty good sized pair of girls, so i thought maybe my bra was just not right, or something. but when i noticed the pain a few days later i decided that maybe it was something else.
when pain, rashes, mysterious lumps, etc. appear in my life i immediately turn to the all-knowing google. i mean seriously, we all know that the matronal goddess hiding away in new york determines what information the google relays back to us, so how could asking the google about my breast pain be a bad idea?
well the mother computer relayed (through her little bitch, the google) that i had two options relating to my boobs… either i had breast cancer or i was pregnant.
hmmm…. suck and suck.
the next morning i woke up panicked because i had a dream that i was pregnant.
okay. first the mother computer, then the google and now god. i was out of my mind to think that i wasn’t pregnant, who else is there to consult??
i did something that i have never done before. i went to the store to look for a pregnancy test. i have never bought a pregnancy test before… i have no idea where they are located, what the price might be or how many freaking choices one would have in the purchase! damn!
after i found them, right next to the tampons…. oh the irony, target. my heart was pounding, i was sure that everyone in the store was looking at me. i felt like a teenager trying to buy condoms or liquor. i had this overwhelming urge to shout at the people (who were obviously looking at me…) “what?! i am 26 years old! i am married, we can have sex! we could be pregnant if we wanted! that is allowed! i am married, dammit!”

on a side note: i have never felt the need to justify my marital status. shit, sometimes i can’t even call derek my husband, cause it just feels so fun to call him my boyfriend.

after what seemed like an eternity of scanning the front of the boxes (i clearly could not pick each one up and read the details on the back…) i decided on the most expensive. when in doubt, pay the most money, right?! that means it has to be the best and will no doubt, give me the answer that i am looking for…
well, then came the problem of the checkout line. even though i was quietly mumbling my age throughout the entire store and carrying the damn thing with my left hand (to naturally show my wedding ring) i felt the need to pick up a few other things so i would not have to pay for just ONE PREGNANCY TEST.
naturally i got a soda, PEOPLE magazine, and some carmex.
i suck at being nonchalant.

as i am standing in line, i go back to thinking about when i am walking to my car at drake. “it is okay if you get your achille’s tendon cut, it is okay if you get kidnapped, it is okay if you are pregnant.” wait a minute….

it is NOT okay that you are comparing being kidnapped/killed to being pregnant! sweet jesus, you are not ready for motherhood!
why does anyone put themselves through this agony on purpose?
i get home, take the test and wait the horrid three fucking minutes!!! are you kidding me? three minutes? for 13 dollars your little paper strip mind has to work faster than that. come on now!
no whammies, no whammies.

and then there was relief…. negative.

i promptly poured myself a glass of wine and began with the reassurance mode… “it’s okay that mother computer and her little sidekick, the google played this terrible trick on you. it’s okay…”